DAVIE, Fla. -- Quarterback David Garrard signed with the Miami Dolphins in March, climbed to No. 1 on the depth chart a month ago and now wonders whether he'll still be on the roster at the end of this week.
Garrard somewhat gingerly returned to practice Monday, three weeks after he underwent arthroscopic knee surgery that forced him to miss the entire exhibition season.
The veteran is one of four quarterbacks on the roster, stirring speculation he'll be released or traded. Garrard said Dolphins officials have given him no hints regarding their plans.
"I honestly don't even know what's going on," he said. "There are still enough teams in this league to play for if it is not here. But I'm excited about here. I'm excited about being on this team, and hopefully I'll still be here."
Rookie Ryan Tannehill will start Sunday's opener at Houston. The Dolphins' other quarterbacks are Matt Moore, who started their final 12 games last year, and Pat Devlin, a second-year pro who has showed promise but has yet to take a snap in a game.
The Dolphins may decide against keeping Garrard a backup because of his $2.25 million salary -- guaranteed if he's on the roster for the opener -- and uncertainty about his left knee.
He conceded he's not yet 100 per cent.
"I'm still trying to get my strength back in that leg, which is what I'm really fighting through right now," he said. "I'm just trying to be smart, as smart as I can without delaying myself too much. But I'm not going to force myself to do anything to hurt myself for the long run, if it's here or somewhere else."
Also nursing a sore knee was Pro Bowl tackle Jake Long, who has been sidelined for the past week and again sat out practice. His status for the opener is uncertain.
Following a flurry of moves to reach the regular-season roster limit, the Dolphins have 11 rookies -- four undrafted -- and eight other newcomers among their 53 players. The newcomers include four players who practiced Monday for the first time since being acquired off waivers -- receiver Anthony Armstrong, safety Troy Nolan, cornerback R.J. Stanford and linebacker Sammy Brown.
"They're swimming a little bit," coach Joe Philbin said. "I'm sure they're not practicing at the speed they hopefully will, due to the mental things that are going on."
Armstrong had 44 catches for 871 yards for the Washington Redskins in 2010, and the Dolphins hope he can provide the deep threat that has been missing in their receiving corps.
"They told me they brought me here to play," he said. "I've just got to learn the offence, get caught up to speed and be able to get on the same page as Tannehill and those guys."
After his breakthrough year in 2010, Armstrong played much less last season, when he made only seven receptions for Washington.
"That's not the type of receiver I am," he said. "I'm more focused on the guy that I was in 2010."
Davone Bess and Legedu Naanee will likely get the most snaps among the wideouts in the opener. Veteran Brian Hartline returned to practice Friday but is behind because he missed the entire exhibition season with a calf injury.
Even with running back Reggie Bush projected as a frequent target, offensive co-ordinator Mike Sherman conceded pass-catching has been worrisome so far.
"It's a work in progress, and will continue to be until we have solved that problem," Sherman said. "I wouldn't say it has been solved. We had an addition with Armstrong, but it has got to get better for us to be successful."